Be not afraid! - 23 December 2020

By Hennie Symington

The night was chilly and the wind whipped at their shepherds garb as they sat warming their hands at the fire while watching over their sheep under the starry skies. They daren’t leave their sheep sleeping alone on the fields in the dark for fear of wolves and bears that would attack their flock. Suddenly it was as if the sheep became more visible in the dark. The night sky lit up as an Angel – no, a host of angels – appeared bringing them “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:9). The angel’s message was that they would find a child wrapped in cloths in a manger.

They couldn’t wait to see this wonder – so much so that they left their flocks in the fields and rushed off to where the star pointed them. And what do they find? Precisely what you and I do: God in the flesh. God as a person – a human being like us. God Immanuel. That was the night that God came close to us – so close that he became like one of us. So close, that we could embrace him. God became a child so that he could lead us back to the Father.

When you go through hard times, when your life has become meaningless and nothing excites you or inspires you to joy, and you feel you belong nowhere, remember the One crying in the night, the One who was wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger. Remember the One who had to flee for his life from his own people, the One who brought salvation to all of mankind including you!

One night, two thousand years ago, a couple of shepherds, found something that exceeded their wildest dream – something we can find too: the way to God through a manger. Perhaps it is time to surrender, open our hearts, and accept the wonder of Christmas. In the words of one theologian, “We have no choice. God is with us.”

Prayer: Dear God, we thank you that you have sent your Son as a bridge between God and man, giving mankind hope of salvation. Amen